It’s time to go colonial


Since the beginning of time the methods of cooking have changed in many ways. Some say for the better where others say they wish they had the old ways back. One thing is certain though, no matter what time period, food has always been necessary as well as a delicacy.

Food also was always a time the family came together to enjoy each other’s company. I believe there is no better time to be had than enjoying a beautiful meal one creates with loved ones.

This week we are going to travel back into time to period that has not been forgotten and a time, which many find fascinating. Colonial times were much simpler compared to today’s standards. Today, it is common to dine in a restaurant and order food cooked by someone else. However in colonial times it was living high on the hog if someone else cooked the food.

People like George Washington or Ben Franklin had cooks on their household staffs, but the less affluent prepared all of their own meals.

Traveling back into colonial times, stoves give way to fireplaces or fire pits, and the number of spices in the cabinet dwindles quite a bit, but the time from starting the prep to eating the meal changes only a bit. This way of cooking intrigues me because to really do it well requires learning patience. Without patience, the meal ends up completely inedible.

In today’s world, we can run to the store and buy almost every thing from butchered meat to any vegetable in a can or in a box. Eating in colonial America depended on how hard a person worked throughout the year. Poor or lazy work showed in a poor harvest.

People living in the colonial era did not have the luxury of Wal-Mart or other big box USA stores. Their meals always began with the planting, harvesting and hunting of their staples.

Meals were prepared over open fire, either in a pit or fireplace. Although the colonial era saw many advancements in the world of food there were no celebrity chefs. The closest thing to Gordon Ramsey was Hercules, chef to George Washington.

I cannot think of anything better than the smell of burning wood with the aroma of tasty food escaping the cooking pot as it cooks down over the fire. Knowing the work I did chopping each vegetable and breaking down each piece of meat contributes to delicious morsels of food really gets my gears turning. Not only is it rewarding knowing I created it but it truly provides a greater appreciation for the food in which we partake.

Thanks to the James Townsend YouTube channel and the Edgar County Historical Society for the use of the Eslinger Log Home, Sean Robison and I are going to take readers back into colonial times and prepare a late 18th century meal.

Colonial meals tended to always include meat and a hardy vegetable. The meal cooked in the Eslinger Cabin also included the 18th century dessert white pot, which is a baked combination of bread, egg custard and dry fruit.